Change We Can Believe In

Change” is the buzz-word after an historic day last Tuesday… Here are a few thoughts on change—please pass this along to those that might need the encouragement. Hope you have an Energized week! Ok, Giving an opinion about how others need to change is easy; taking personal responsibility for change is more difficult. I've learned that it's very easy to suggest how others need to change, but difficult to see the same need in yourself. For example, I've seen people complain that another person doesn't take responsibility to communicate with them. My suggestion is always the same, “How about you take the first step and go to them.” A wonderful rule of thumb is to determine what action you need to take, before you expect others to take action. Change always works best when we take the responsibility to make it happen ourselves. · What responsibility do I need to take in this situation? · Am I taking personal responsibility to get my needs met? · Am I draining my energy by being upset that others are not cooperating? If so, what do I need to do about that? · Am I procrastinating by waiting on others to provide me with information? · What stops me from taking the responsibility to get started? · What do I need to do to make things happen? There are two quotes that sum up this up: “If you have no will to change it, you have no right to criticize it.” - Anon "Rebellion against your handicaps gets you nowhere. Self-pity gets you nowhere. One must have the adventurous daring to accept oneself as a bundle of possibilities and undertake the most interesting game in the world - making the most of one's best." Harry Emerson this is from my good friend Kit Cummings Read more!

The Legacy of Miriam Makeba

Miriam Makeba, the world re-known South African singer & a personal inspiration of mine died after collapsing on stage in Italy. She was 76. Miriam was banned from her own country for more than 30 years under apartheid, because of her views against oppression. In her music career, she performed with musical legends like jazz star Nina Simone and Dizzy Gillespie, Harry Belafonte, Paul Simon — and sang for world leaders such as John F. Kennedy and Nelson Mandela. "Her haunting melodies gave voice to the pain of exile and dislocation which she felt for 31 long years. At the same time, her music inspired a powerful sense of hope in all of us," Mandela said in a statement. He said it was "fitting" that her last moments were spent on stage. The Pineta Grande clinic in Castel Volturno, near the southern city of Naples, said Makeba died early Monday of a heart attack. Makeba collapsed on stage Sunday night after singing one of her most famous hits "Pata Pata," her family said in a statement. Her grandson, Nelson Lumumba Lee, was with her as well as her longtime friend, Italian promoter Roberto Meglioli. The first African woman to win a Grammy award, Makeba started singing in Sophiatown, a cosmopolitan neighborhood of Johannesburg that was a cultural hotspot in the 1950s before its black residents were forcibly removed by the apartheid government. She then teamed up with South African jazz trumpeter Hugh Masekela — later her first husband — and her rise to international prominence started when she starred in the anti-apartheid documentary "Come Back, Africa" in 1959. "Whilst this great lady was alive she would say: 'I will sing until the last day of my life'," the statement said. Castel Volturno Mayor Francesco Nuzzo said Makeba sang at a concert in solidarity with six immigrants from Ghana who were shot to death in September in the town, an attack that investigators have blamed on organized crime. The death of "Mama Africa," as she was known, plunged South Africa into shock and mourning. "One of the greatest songstresses of our time has ceased to sing," Foreign Affairs minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma said in a statement. "Throughout her life, Mama Makeba communicated a positive message to the world about the struggle of the people of South Africa and the certainty of victory over the dark forces of apartheid and colonialism through the art of song." Makeba wrote in her 1987 memoirs that friends and relatives who first encouraged her to perform compared her voice to that of a nightingale. With her distinctive style combining jazz with folk with South African township rhythms, she was often called "The Empress of African Song." When she tried to fly home for her mother's funeral the following year, she discovered her passport had been revoked. It was 30 years before she was allowed to return. In 1963, Makeba appeared before the U.N. Special Committee on Apartheid to call for an international boycott of South Africa. The South African government responded by banning her records, including hits like "Pata Pata," "The Click Song" ("Qongqothwane" in Xhosa), and "Malaika." Makeba received the Grammy Award for Best Folk Recording in 1966 together with Belafonte for "An Evening With Belafonte/Makeba." The album dealt with the political plight of black South Africans under apartheid. Thanks to her close relationship with Belafonte, she received star status in the United States and performed for President Kennedy at his birthday party in 1962. But she fell briefly out of favor when she married black power activist Stokely Carmichael — later known as Kwame Ture — and moved to Guinea in the late 1960s. Besides working with Simone and Gillespie, she also appeared with Paul Simon at his "Graceland" concert in Zimbabwe in 1987. After three decades abroad, Makeba was invited back to South Africa by Mandela, the anti-apartheid icon, shortly after his release from prison in 1990 as white racist rule crumbled. "It was like a revival," she said about going home. "My music having been banned for so long, that people still felt the same way about me was too much for me. I just went home and I cried." Makeba courted controversy by lending support to dictators such as Togo's Gnassingbe Eyadema and Felix Houphouet-Boigny from Ivory Coast, performing at political campaigns for the veteran leaders even as they were violently suppressing the movements for democracy that swept West Africa in the early 90s. The first person to give her refuge was Guinea's former President Ahmed Sekou Toure who was accused in the slaughtering of 10 percent of the population. Makeba, though, insisted that her songs were not deliberately political. "I'm not a political singer," she insisted in an interview with Britain's Guardian newspaper earlier this year. "I don't know what the word means. People think I consciously decided to tell the world what was happening in South Africa. No! I was singing about my life, and in South Africa we always sang about what was happening to us — especially the things that hurt us." Makeba announced her retirement three years ago, but despite a series of farewell concerts she never stopped performing. When she turned 75 last year, she said she would sing for as long as possible. Makeba is survived by her grandchildren, Nelson Lumumba Lee and Zenzi Monique Lee, and her great-grandchildren Lindelani, Ayanda and Kwame. Many parts of this is from CELEAN JACOBSON AP Read more!

OBAMA WON - AMERICA WINS!

November 5th is a day of new possibility. It's a about new direction with capable leadership! I am inspired, excited and hopeful for all of the world to change! Let's PRAY for Barack Obama and for our country that I am SO PROUD OF! November 5th 2008, our brother, Barack Obama was elected as America's first black president! Instantaneously this unleashed a renewed love for the United States after years of dwindling respect from around the world. People around the globe poured out onto the streets to celebrate! It reminds me of a bible verse: Proverbs 29:2 - When the righteous thrive, the people rejoice; when the wicked rule, the people groan. What even Pro-life, thus Pro-McCain voters didn't understand, is that it's not JUST about America.Our leadership is about the whole world! And that was the thing I couldn't explain to them. Although I feel strongly about protecting the "unborn", and we need someone to address that issue. Feel me as I say, people across Africa stayed up all night or woke before dawn to watch U.S. history being made! Indonesia, where Obama lived as child, hundreds of students at his former elementary school exploded in cheers when he was declared winner! Nelson Mandela said his victory demonstrated that no person anywhere in the world should not dare to dream of wanting to change the world for a better place! Many expressed amazement that the United States could overcome centuries of racial strife and elect a black man as president. This is the fall of the Berlin Wall times ten! Rama Yade, France's black junior minister for human rights, told French radio. "America is becoming a New World. "On this morning, we all want to be American so we can take a bite of this dream unfolding before our eyes," she said. Obama is overwhelmingly popular even in Europe, another region that looked eagerly to an Obama administration! Poland's Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski spoke of "a new America with a new credit of trust in the world." Obama's victory was greeted with cheers across Latin America, a region that has felt some negativity from the Bush years. From Mexico to Chile, leaders expressed hope for warmer relations based on mutual respect — a quality many felt has been missing from U.S. foreign policy. Venezuela and Bolivia, which booted out the U.S. ambassadors after accusing the Bush administration of meddling in their internal politics, said they were ready to reestablish diplomatic relations, and Brazil's president was among several leaders urging Obama to be more flexible toward Cuba. Rio de Janeiro, people expressed a mixture of joy, disbelief, and hope for the future! One person from there saying, "The United States is a country to dream about, and for us black Brazilians, it is even easier to do so now." This is the first African-American destined to sit in the Oval Office, Gen. Colin Powell, Rice, and so many others even John Mccain gave props to Obama and his leadership! This is an exciting time yawl! Read more!

Overc​oming​ Fear

Fear has gripp​ed our socie​ty,​ and some seem to be caugh​t in a “para​lysis​ of analy​sis.​” Our abili​ty to make clear​,​ firm decis​ions is imper​ative​… Below​ are a few tips to encou​rage you durin​g this time—​pleas​e pass them along​ to those​ that will benef​it… Have an great​ week!​ One of the great​est hindr​ances​ to decis​ion making​ is fear.​ And, the longe​r you think​ about​ the decis​ion the more fearf​ul you becom​e.​ All of us strug​gle at some point​ in life when it comes​ to makin​g decis​ions.​ I would​ think​ many of you are exper​ienci​ng that strug​gle as you read this newsl​etter​.​ The emoti​on of fear compl​icate​s any decis​ion makin​g activ​ity.​ Shoul​d I stay or shoul​d I go? Shoul​d I conti​nue doing​ what I’ve been doing​ or try a diffe​rent appro​ach?​ What happe​ns when my savin​gs are gone?​ These​ are only a few of the quest​ions that come up when makin​g criti​cal decis​ions durin​g diffi​cult times​.​ When fear becom​es a part of the proce​ss it not only compl​icate​s it, but cause​s the perso​n to becom​e stran​ded betwe​en optio​ns.​ Energ​y Perfo​rmanc​e Tips The best decis​ions are based​ on facts​ or at least​ the facts​ as you know them.​ Fear muddl​es facts​.​ Inter​estin​gly,​ one of the facts​ about​ fear is that 99% of all the thing​s you have ever worri​ed about​ NEVER​ happe​ned.​ Dr. Frank​ Crane​,​ a Presb​yteri​an minis​ter said,​ “Most​ of the fear that spoil​s life comes​ from attac​hing diffi​culti​es befor​e we get to them.​” I’m sure you have seen or heard​ this defin​ition​ of FEAR.​ Fear is: “Fant​asize​d Exper​ience​s Appea​ring Real.​ Here are sugge​stion​s to help manag​e fear when makin​g a decis​ion:​ 1. There​ are no termi​nal choic​es.​ Whate​ver choic​e you make you can re-​make it at any time.​ Plus all decis​ions provi​de you with benef​its.​ If you make the right​ decis​ion,​ great​,​ you did well.​ If it was the wrong​ decis​ion,​ you learn​ed somet​hing.​ 2. Fear waste​s energ​y.​ Fear cause​s you to visua​lize thing​s that are not real or dream​ up thing​s that have not yet happe​ned.​ Use your energ​y for reali​stic thoug​hts and actio​ns.​ W. Cleme​nt Stone​ said,​ “When​ think​ing won’t​ cure fear,​ actio​n will.​” 3. All decis​ions have a certa​in amoun​t of risk.​ "How can I be sure this is the right​ decis​ion?​"​ "​What if I make the wrong​ choic​e?​"​ The answe​r to these​ quest​ions is that you can’t​.​ What you can do is make the best choic​e possi​ble and make adjus​tment​s as neede​d.​ 4. Have faith​ – trust​ that you did the best you could​ with the infor​matio​n you had. And keep in mind the old adage​ “noth​ing ventu​red,​ nothi​ng gaine​d.​” You can'​t deter​mine the futur​e,​ but you can do the best you know to do in the prese​nt.​ "Too many peopl​e are think​ing of secur​ity inste​ad of oppor​tunit​y.​ They are more afrai​d of life than death​.​" - James​ F. Byrne​s From my great​ frien​d Kit Cummi​ngs Speec​h Read more!

A cool Story!

Oct 05, 2008 The Norwe​gian newsp​aper VG has repor​ted a truly​ amazi​ng story​ about​ a newly​-​wed tryin​g to get to Norwa​y to be with her husba​nd,​ and the stran​ger who helpe​d pay an unexp​ected​ lugga​ge surch​arge.​ The blog '​Leish​a'​s Rando​m Thoug​hts'​ has trans​lated​ the story​.​ It was 1988,​ and Mary Ander​sen was at the Miami​ airpo​rt check​ing in for a long fligh​t to Norwa​y to be with her husba​nd when the airli​ne repre​senta​tive infor​med her that she would​n'​t be able to check​ her lugga​ge witho​ut payin​g a 100 surch​arge:​ When it was final​ly Mary'​s turn,​ she got the messa​ge that would​ crush​ her bubbl​ing feeli​ng of happi​ness.​ -​You'​ll have to pay a 103 dolla​r surch​arge if you want to bring​ both those​ suitc​ases to Norwa​y , the man behin​d the count​er said.​ Mary had no money​.​ Her new husba​nd had trave​lled ahead​ of her to Norwa​y , and she had no one else to call.​ -I was compl​etely​ despe​rate and tried​ to think​ which​ of my thing​s I could​ manag​e witho​ut.​ But I had alrea​dy made such a caref​ul selec​tion of my most prize​d posse​ssion​s,​ says Mary.​ As tears​ strea​med down her face,​ she heard​ a '​gentl​e and frien​dly voice​'​ behin​d her sayin​g,​ '​That'​s okay,​ I'll pay for her.' Mary turne​d aroun​d to see a tall man whom she had never​ seen befor​e.​ -He had a gentl​e and kind voice​ that was still​ firm and decis​ive.​ The first​ thing​ I thoug​ht was, Who is this man?Altho​ugh this happe​ned 20 years​ ago, Mary still​ remem​bers the autho​rity that radia​ted from the man. -He was nicel​y dress​ed,​ fashi​onabl​y dress​ed with brown​ leath​er shoes​,​ a cotto​n shirt​ open at the throa​t and khaki​ pants​,​ says Mary. She was thril​led to be able to bring​ both her suitc​ases to Norwa​y and assur​ed the stran​ger that he would​ get his money​ back.​ The man wrote​ his name and addre​ss on a piece​ of paper​ that he gave to Mary.​ She thank​ed him repea​tedly​.​ When she final​ly walke​d off towar​ds the secur​ity check​point​,​ he waved​ goodb​ye to her. Who was the man? Barac​k Obama​.​ Twent​y years​ later​,​ she is thril​led that the frien​dly stran​ger at the airpo​rt may be the next Presi​dent and has voted​ for him alrea​dy and donat​ed 100 dolla​rs to his campa​ign:​ -He was my knigh​t in shini​ng armor​,​ says Mary,​ smili​ng.​ She paid the 103 dolla​rs back to Obama​ the day after​ she arriv​ed in Norwa​y . At that time he had just finis​hed his job as a poorl​y paid commu​nity worke​r*​ in Chica​go , and had start​ed his law studi​es at prest​igiou​s Harva​rd unive​rsity​.​ Mary even convi​nced her paren​ts to vote for him: In the sprin​g of 2006 Mary'​s paren​ts had heard​ that Obama​ was consi​derin​g a run for presi​dent,​ but that he had still​ not decid​ed.​ They chose​ to write​ a lette​r in which​ they told him that he would​ recei​ve their​ votes​.​ At the same time,​ they thank​ed Obama​ for helpi​ng their​ daugh​ter 18 years​ earli​er.​ And Obama​ repli​ed:​ In a lette​r to Mary'​s paren​ts dated​ May 4th, 2006 and stamp​ed '​Unite​d State​s Senat​e,​ Washi​ngton​ DC ', Barac​k Obama​ write​s:​ 'I want to thank​ you for the lovel​y thing​s you wrote​ about​ me and for remin​ding me of what happe​ned at Miami​ airpo​rt.​ I'm happy​ I could​ help back then,​ and I'm delig​hted to hear that your daugh​ter is happy​ in Norwa​y . Pleas​e send her my best wishe​s.​ Since​rely,​ Barac​k Obama​ , Unite​d State​s Senat​or'​.​ The paren​ts sent the lette​r on to Mary.​ Mary says that when her frien​ds and assoc​iates​ talk about​ the elect​ion,​ espec​ially​ when race relat​ions is the heate​d subje​ct,​ she relat​es the story​ of the k ind man who helpe​d out a stran​ger-​in-​need over twent​y years​ ago, years​ befor​e he had even thoug​ht about​ runni​ng for high offic​e.​ Truly​ a wonde​rful story​,​ and somet​hing that needs​ to be passe​d along​ in the maels​torm of fear-​and-​smear​ polit​ics we are being​ subje​cted to right​ now. SPEEC​H & the AD famil​y Read more!

I Dare you to vote!

I Double Dare You To Vote! Everyone underestimates the ability of the youth to actually be responsible enough to follow through with what they say they're going to do! This election is your chance to do what you said you would! Prove the Nah sayers wrong. They say blacks, youth, and artists never turn out in real numbers...I also hope the rural white voters see the label the media and pundits have placed on you. They say you're uneducated and unable to think clearly about WHO is the best candidate for your financial situation. I have HOPE IN YOU ALL! Let's make it happen in early voting (Like Yolanda & I proudly did) or make it happen NOV.4th. Just do it. Read more!

You are...

Even the most intense experience is only an experience 
you are having. It is not you, and you are not it.You are more than your problems, more than your
 possessions, more than the pains and pleasures. You 
are more than the frustrations that sometimes feel so
 overwhelming. 

 Too often, out of fear, you cling tightly to things 
that don't really matter. Imagine the freedom that can
 come from letting go and stepping back. 

What if your most agonizing worries no longer had the
power to worry you? What if your most burdensome
 difficulties no longer had the power to trouble you? 

Step back from them, and it is all possible. It's not 
a matter of running away, but of putting the world in 
perspective. 

 The real person you are, is not defined or limited by 
the passing circumstances, no matter how intense they 
may be. Always remember that you are more.
 Read more!

Tips for the growers...

1. Be quick to decide. Execute rather than wait. The Union Civil War General Sherman said: "A good plan executed today is far and away better than a perfect plan tomorrow." 2. Always paint the back of the house first. Do those things you least like doing when you have more energy. Then turn your energy on the things you love to do. 3. Do all you can to manage what you have and leave the rest. Manage your energy and your time and your possibilities. Don’t look for new things to spend energy and time on. 4. Check on competitors, but pay more attention to what you're doing. Everything looks perfect at a distance. You can find out what others are doing, but it’s more important what you are doing. 5. Don’t allow anyone to intimidate you. Stick with the people who are supporting your cause and leave the rest behind. You have every right to be successful. Don’t waste your energy comparing yourself to others or worrying about what other people think. 6. Solve your own problems. The emphasis here is “solve” not worry. The buck really does stop with you. Yes, you can get insight and encouragement from others, but in the final analysis you have to make the important decisions. 7. Don't take yourself too seriously. As my English teach would tell me, “Rausch, get off the stage and stop complaining.” You are valuable, but there are also millions of others just as valuable. Focus on someone or something other than your own problems. 8. There's always a reason to smile. Find it. After all, you're really lucky just to be alive. Life is short. Somewhere I picked up this quote and have found it to be energizing when things are tough; "We're not here for a long time; we're here for a good time." Word up. Read more!

We're on a World Tour...

Here we are at the brink of the most important election in my lifetime. My wife & I have PROUDLY ALREADY VOTED! I am presently in Cape Town, South Africa, where only 15 short years ago most of the population here was denied simple freedoms that many in the world take for granted. Arrested Development was here in 1994, during their time of FREEDOM when the worlds hero, Nelson Mandela was elected President of South Africa with overwhelming support! I was not only able to meet him, but I was able to speak directly before him at an address to the South African people, it was proudly one of the most important times in my life! Today in America, racism is being woven (once again) into the fabric of our thoughts, and whites & blacks are having to unleash their deep hidden fears, anxieties and dreams as they make a decision on a possible first Black president of the racially unjust United States. This is an exciting opportunity to live out the dream of America and a great time to be alive. (I love this following video) God knows the outcome of this election already, that comforts me. I also know that ultimately (in the end) God's will has to be done in this world and that also comforts me, as a God "fearing" and God loving man. Being here in Africa today, and having communed with the black & white Africans, Indian and colored people at our two shows (in the last two days), it has been amazing and refreshing! I, being almost 40 years old, have seen things that I had never seen before. Simple things like, a commercial about a clothes detergent having an all black cast. A black soap opera, that is not based on "black" issues. I'm in a place where I can finally see the possibility of blacks being seen as humans, not "black" at all. And I am filled with a mix of joy and sadness. Joy that I can finally see the possibilities of a world not seeing me as black! Sadness because it took 39 years and a trip all the way to South Africa for me to see it that way. At our show last night in Cape Town, I saw an African wearing an Obama T-shirt! It's amazing to see the overwhelming interest and support for our elections. It reminds me of the huge role we play in the entire world! As we toured, first to London, now in Africa and God willing next to the middle East (Dubai, Bahrain & Abu Dabui); my wife & 2 kids are in tow, seeing Muslims, Arabs, Blacks, Jews, Whites, and Indians as people, not terrorists, or all the other stereotypes that Americans have been indoctrinated to see. They see humans, families, children of God and I thank Him for this! I thank all of you fans of music for giving me the opportunity to tour, and for paying my bills. :-) Click on the title of this blog to read the review of our SOLD OUT show in London! Thank you South Africans for your love, hospitality and long talks about your future hopes, your past atrocities and love for human kind! Thank you to the many hip hop heads here that reject the imagery of U.S. mainstream hip hop and have decided to take a more life sustaining/conscious route! Today I am about to go into the townships and shanty towns, I will also go to church. I know what to expect! Many strive to put fear into us about crime and violence, but I know God is with us and we'll see exactly what He means for us to see. Anyway, we're on a world tour and in this day, this time period we are freedom riders. Seeing the vision, promoting the dream, and living with no fear! Read more!

Thank you fans!

I have had the pleasure of writing, performing, and experiencing music through the eyes of the fans for 17 years! We first jumped onto the scene in 1991 and it’s been an incredible journey! I’ve gotten much more than I asked or even hoped for. Every night I meet more of you and you inspire me to be better, to reach the skies in my own life & write songs of quality. From the 51 states of the U.S. to the countries in Europe we’ve falling in love with you guys! The great openness of Australians, the wonderful servitude and gratitude of the Japanese; you fans have kept it fresh for us! We introduce new music - you show love! You introduced babies, wives, children and friends to us at the shows and we show love! And now we’re off to Africa and the Middle East.(Dubai) I can’t repay you and you can’t repay me for what we’ve offered each other. This journey just keeps getting more interesting, thanks for taking it with me! Love SPEECH Read more!

Time for Some Campaignin'

As y'all can tell by the content, Speech & the Vagabond family are always interested in sharing pertinent information about what's happening in the world and we always encourage spirited two-way dialog. So with all the heaviness that comes our way in the world today, we thought we'd share what we thought was one of the funniest cartoons we've seen in awhile. It skewers both parties and in some areas may be as close to reality as it is funny! Enjoy! Gregg Adams Read more!

The BAIL OUT Dilema

This is where I get upset at people who say LESS government, more private enterprise. Where is the pull yourself up by your boot strap argument, when it comes to the billion dollar companies? It's only made for the regular working class; Those who made mistakes in buying houses, those unwillingly on welfare, those who have a sick relative and goes into debt. But here we are, regular tax payers bailing out HUGE corporations! While CEO's go un- tarnished! It's a graaaaave injustice! Under what conditions would multi-billion-dollar bailouts of private businesses be acceptable? What standard is acceptable (if any) for deciding when it is best to use public money to save private business? Never! (In my opinion) I understand that some companies get "too big to fail" and have to be bailed out. I believe the role of government is to help the people! I think each year our government should determine and regulate if companies have become "too big to fail". Maybe that company should be forced to break up into several smaller companies, or something but what's happening now is outrageous! It's not the ideal free market solution, but it sure beats the present "free market" system that's using taxpayer money to bail out the biggest corporations in the country! Look, I'm not poor. In fact, I'm among the rich in this country. A lot of what I stand for is NOT because it affects me so much. But it affects the community at large and I am for the people at large, not just for self. I see a sad double standard, in how our present administration runs things. I have many right wing friends that insist they have gotten to where they are with NO Help - Just hard work, and determination. (Which I don't believe is possible) And their usual attitude for any one who is desperate is pull your self up, work harder. I have some on the left who enable people - making them lazy. Both are wrong to me. But Government IS supposed to be for the people and by the people and not just for the richest among us! It's just not fair! Read more!

Who owns the Federal Reserve Bank?

With all the financial stress that seemingly has just LEAPED into our lives, it is safe to say that there are many different perspectives on HOW this happened and whether we should all be more concerned about it. I'd love your thoughts. Check out this video! (Mind you, it's 31/2 hours long so do it in kibbles & bits) It gives one perspective. This article gives another. (uummm) http://video.google.com/googleplayer.swf?docid=-515319560256183936&hl=en&fs=true Q: Who owns the Federal Reserve Bank? A: There are actually 12 different Federal Reserve Banks around the country, and they are owned by big private banks. But the banks don't necessarily run the show. Nationally, the Federal Reserve System is led by a Board of Governors whose seven members are appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate. The stockholders in the 12 regional Federal Reserve Banks are the privately owned banks that fall under the Federal Reserve System. These include all national banks (chartered by the federal government) and those state-chartered banks that wish to join and meet certain requirements. About 38 percent of the nation's more than 8,000 banks are members of the system, and thus own the Fed banks. The concept of "ownership" needs some explaining here, however. The member banks must by law invest 3 percent of their capital as stock in the Reserve Banks, and they cannot sell or trade their stock or even use that stock as collateral to borrow money. They do receive dividends of 6 percent per year from the Reserve Banks and get to elect each Reserve Bank's board of directors. The private banks also have a voice in regulating the nation's money supply and setting targets for short-term interest rates, but it's a minority voice. Those decisions are made by the Federal Open Market Committee, which has a dozen voting members, only five of whom come from the banks. The remaining seven, a voting majority, are the Fed's Board of Governors who, as mentioned, are appointed by the president. The Fed is a little defensive about the question of ownership. In its Frequently Asked Questions section, the Federal Reserve Board says: "The Federal Reserve System is not 'owned' by anyone and is not a private, profit-making institution. Instead, it is an independent entity within the government, having both public purposes and private aspects." It continues: Federal Reserve Board: As the nation's central bank, the Federal Reserve derives its authority from the U.S. Congress. It is considered an independent central bank because its decisions do not have to be ratified by the President or anyone else in the executive or legislative branch of government, it does not receive funding appropriated by Congress, and the terms of the members of the Board of Governors span multiple presidential and congressional terms. However, the Federal Reserve is subject to oversight by Congress, which periodically reviews its activities and can alter its responsibilities by statute. Also, the Federal Reserve must work within the framework of the overall objectives of economic and financial policy established by the government. Therefore, the Federal Reserve can be more accurately described as "independent within the government." The twelve regional Federal Reserve Banks, which were established by Congress as the operating arms of the nation's central banking system, are organized much like private corporations--possibly leading to some confusion about "ownership." For example, the Reserve Banks issue shares of stock to member banks. However, owning Reserve Bank stock is quite different from owning stock in a private company. The Reserve Banks are not operated for profit, and ownership of a certain amount of stock is, by law, a condition of membership in the System. The stock may not be sold, traded, or pledged as security for a loan; dividends are, by law, 6 percent per year. -Brooks Jackson Read more!

White privilege

I want to say that I do know there is such a thing as White privilege. And I'm proud of Barack Obama for never complaining or even mentioning the effects it has has on this historical campaign. But as a citizen and brother to all I think these statements need to be shared. Some will have their eyes opened to the double standard. Tim Wise (the writer for what follows) is a young WHITE anti-racist activist and a frequent speaker on college campuses. His book, “White Like Me,” is very famous. Everybody PLEASE remember that the Last day to register to vote Oct 1! Tell your neighbors and friends! . This is Your Nation on White Privilege By Tim Wise 9/13/08 For those who still can't grasp the concept of white privilege, or who are constantly looking for some easy-to-understand examples of it, perhaps this list will help. White privilege is when you can get pregnant at seventeen like Bristol Palin and everyone is quick to insist that your life and that of your family is a personal matter, and that no one has a right to judge you or your parents, because "every family has challenges," even as black and Latino families with similar "challenges" are regularly typified as irresponsible, pathological and arbiters of social decay. White privilege is when you can call yourself a "f-----' redneck," like Bristol Palin's boyfriend does, and talk about how if anyone messes with you, you'll "kick their f----n' a--," and talk about how you like to "shoot s---" for fun, and still be viewed as a responsible, all-American boy (and a great son-in-law to be) rather than a thug. White privilege is when you can attend four different colleges in six years like Sarah Palin did (one of which you basically failed out of, then returned to after making up some coursework at a community college), and no one questions your intelligence or commitment to achievement, whereas a person of color who did this would be viewed as unfit for college, and probably someone who only got in in the first place because of affirmative action. White privilege is when you can claim that being mayor of a town smaller than most medium-sized colleges, and then Governor of a state with about the same number of people as the lower fifth of the island of Manhattan, makes you ready to potentially be president, and people don't all pee on themselves with laughter, while being a black U.S. Senator, two-term state Senator, and constitutional law scholar, means you're "untested." White privilege is being able to say that you support the words "under God" in the pledge of allegiance because "if it was good enough for the founding fathers, it's good enough for me," and not be immediately disqualified from holding office--since, after all, the pledge was written in the late 1800s and the "under God" part wasn't added until the 1950s--while believing that reading accused criminals and terrorists their rights (because, ya know, the Constitution, which you used to teach at a prestigious law school requires it), is a dangerous and silly idea only supported by mushy liberals. White privilege is being able to be a gun enthusiast and not make people immediately scared of you. White privilege is being able to make fun of community organizers and the work they do--like, among other things, fight for the right of women to vote, or for civil rights, or the 8-hour workday, or an end to child labor--and people think you're being pithy and tough, but if you merely question the experience of a small town mayor and 18-month governor with no foreign policy expertise beyond a class she took in college--you' re somehow being mean, or even sexist. White privilege is being able to convince white women who don't even agree with you on any substantive issue to vote for you and your running mate anyway, because all of a sudden your presence on the ticket has inspired confidence in these same white women, and made them give your party a "second look." White privilege is being able to attend churches over the years whose pastors say that people who voted for John Kerry or merely criticize George W. Bush are going to hell, and that the U.S. is an explicitly Christian nation and the job of Christians is to bring Christian theological principles into government, and who bring in speakers who say the conflict in the Middle East is God's punishment on Jews for rejecting Jesus, and everyone can still think you're just a good church-going Christian, but if you're black and friends with a black pastor who has noted (as have Colin Powell and the U.S. Department of Defense) that terrorist attacks are often the result of U.S. foreign policy and who talks about the history of racism and its effect on black people, you're an extremist who probably hates America. White privilege is not knowing what the Bush Doctrine is when asked by a reporter, and then people get angry at the reporter for asking you such a "trick question," while being black and merely refusing to give one-word answers to the queries of Bill O'Reilly means you're dodging the question, or trying to seem overly intellectual and nuanced. And finally, white privilege is the only thing that could possibly allow someone to become president when he has voted with George W. Bush 90 percent of the time, even as unemployment is skyrocketing, people are losing their homes, inflation is rising, and the U.S. is increasingly isolated from world opinion, just because white voters aren't sure about that whole "change" thing. Ya know, it's just too vague and ill-defined, unlike, say, four more years of the same, which is very concrete and certain. White privilege is, in short, the problem. . Read more!

You can fool some people sometimes!

Get up, stand up! Stand up for your rights! In the famous song by Bob Marley and the Wailers, there's a verse that says, "You can fool some people sometimes, but you can't fool all the people all the time!" I hope that works this time too. If America falls for the same republican tricks that worked 4 years ago, then we deserve the disastrous results! Wake up yawl! Just take a look at the smears of Fox TV against John Kerry 4 years ago and the same ones from Fox TV now in 2008. Read more!

GACC is Doin' a new Thing!

Isaiah 43:18-19 18 "Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland. My wife, Yolanda & I have been disciples of Christ for 13 years, and we’re so happy to be in a ministry that is active in sharing our faith, we’re devoted unswervingly to the scriptures, and we’re enjoying fellowship and “each other” times filled with salt. I have many friends in other churches that are still yearning for days of old, or to worship with friends from the past. Of course I’d love to see various friends that mean a lot to me, but God is doing so much now, and I only hope all disciples will get to feel that again! At GACC we’re making new friends. Almost every week there’s a new baptism, a new family, campus student, or single learning about God or visiting. We’re meeting dynamic & vibrant people from various races and backgrounds all streaming to the kingdom, the way Isaiah describes. Isaiah 2:2In the last days the mountain of the LORD's temple will be established as chief among the mountains; it will be raised above the hills, and all nations will stream to it.. It’s obvious that people are craving the word that is preached with authority and even more so being lived out in reality! I’m proud that the only disciples that are moving over to our ministry have been those who want total commitment, accountability and yearn to have more zeal for the Lord. I’ve also noticed that only people who have left our ministry unhappy, feel we are too committed, and active in each others lives and in the lord. They didn’t leave because GACC isn’t striving to love the Lord with all of our heart, soul, mind & strength. (The Baptism of Jermaine & Denise) Psalm 133:1 How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity! Our church has refused to play church politics. We haven’t joined any particular movement, because we’ve insisted that anyone who is a disciple of Jesus is in our family! We are about the unity that Jesus prayed for in John 17 & we won’t refuse fellowship with anyone who is for building God’s kingdom in scriptural truth, righteousness and faith. As we study the bible with new people it enables us older disciples to see the folly in being hung up with past church rifts, & divisions. Those divisive issues primarily fester in the prideful hearts of leadership, and the average disciple and especially new converts could care less about any of it; And rightfully so, because they have just learned about the importance of forgiveness, humility, self -denial and trust in God. I know all of us, especially those older in the faith, can stand to take a refresher course in these concepts, for they are the foundation of the church. Our teen’s ministry is prepped and ready to go, our campus, married and single ministries have had incredible successes, in spiritual growth and in numbers. But all of that pales compared to the hearts of serving disciples. I can see that God is ready to move in all of us if we are willing to let Him. I pray for all churches around the world to have at least what we have right now, and even greater things than this! Please pray for God to continue to see us worthy of His grace, blessings and power, as we pray for your church as well. In unity, and the encouragement that comes from being in the Lord. Speech. Read more!

Tom's Shoes, Arrested Development 'Pair Share' Program Kicks Off!

Greetings y'all! We're pleased to announce that AD and Tom's Shoes have agreed to co-sponsor a program to benefit children in need around the world. Since May of 2006, Tom's Shoes has given over 10,000 pairs of shoes to children in Argentina and 50,000 pairs in South Africa through the purchases of their caring customers. They do it by donating on a '1 for 1' program - you buy a pair, a child get's a pair! As an AD fan, you can now receive a $4 discount on the coolest shoes on the planet and help Tom's achieve their 2008 goal of donating 200,000 pairs for children around the world. Just use the promo code 'Lifemusic' Speech is currently sporting the 'Vote' style, (look at the Tom's website and let's us know which pair you believe are housing his feets!). There's a lot of options for you to spend your hard earned charitable dollar, but we ask that you consider our children. Visit Tom'sboth websites for details of where you can join AD and Tom's live! http://www.tomsshoes.com/ http://www.arresteddevelopmentmusic.com (Click on 'News Updates') Peace, and thanks for your consideration! Read more!

Women Against Sarah Palin

A Post by: Quinn Latimer and Lyra Kilston New York, NY This Post is by women & ONLY for women that are against Palin being vice-president: Friends, compatriots, fellow-lamenters: We are writing to you because of the fury and dread we have felt since the announcement of Sarah Palin as the Vice-Presidential candidate for the Republican Party. We believe that this terrible decision has surpassed mere partisanship, and that it is a dangerous farce—on the part of a pandering and rudderless Presidential candidate—that has a real possibility of becoming fact. Perhaps like us, as American women, you share the fear of what Ms. Palin and her professed beliefs and proven record could lead to for ourselves and for our present or future daughters. To date, she is against sex education, birth control, the pro-choice platform, environmental protection, alternative energy development, freedom of speech (as mayor she wanted to ban books and attempted to fire the librarian who stood against her), gun control, the separation of church and state, and polar bears. To say nothing of her complete lack of real preparation to become the second-most-powerful person on the planet. We want to clarify that we are not against Sarah Palin as a woman, a mother, or, for that matter, a parent of a pregnant teenager, but solely as a rash, incompetent, and all together devastating choice for Vice President. Ms. Palin's political views are in every way a slap in the face to the accomplishments that our mothers and grandmothers and great-grandmothers so fiercely fought for, and that we've so demonstrably benefited from. First and foremost, Ms. Palin does not represent us. She does not demonstrate or uphold our interests as American women. It is presumed that the inclusion of a woman on the Republican ticket could win over women voters. We want to disagree, publicly. Therefore, we invite you to reply here with a short, succinct message about why you, as a woman living in this country, do not support this candidate as second-in-command for our nation. Please include your name (last initial is fine), age, and place of residence. We will post your responses on a blog called 'Women Against Sarah Palin,' which we intend to publicize as widely as possible. Please send us your reply at your earliest convenience—the greater the volume of responses we receive, the stronger our message will be. Thank you for your time and action. Sincerely, Quinn Latimer and Lyra Kilston New York, NY womensaynopalin@gmail.com Read more!

NYC 9/11 Ballot Initiative Campaign Announces Milestone!

A picture is worth a thousand words! In this case, 30,000 signatures (and growing) shows that on the 7th anniversary of 9/11, a significant number of NYC voters aren't satisfied with the official explanation of 9/11 nor the government-sponsored investigation! Sept. 9, 2008 - New York, NY) Some said it couldn't be done. However, others here in NYC knew different. We knew that with the right attitude, the right effort, all that mattered was doing whatever work was required to establish the foundation for the NYC 9/11 Ballot Initiative. This public referendum is the most substantial, well-structured effort to date that can result in a subpoena-powered, fact-driven, comprehensive investigation of the most momentous event of our time. Now, 30,000 petition signatures, the minimum requirement to submit a ballot initiative to NY City Council has been reached. From here we will work to double and triple our numbers. We will widen our base and build even greater momentum. We will create a demand for passage of the Initiative that will be undeniable. This is completely available to us because there is now official confirmation from the City Clerk's office that all existing signed petitions will be valid for the mayoral election in 2009. It should also be noted that with substantial numbers and support showing there is a serious mandate from the voters, it is actually possible that NY City Council can be moved to introduce and pass the Initiative on their own. This is the necessary strategy which organizers and petitioners here in NYC have every intention of pursuing. Another vital piece of information has come to light. Back in the spring doubts were raised about the NYC 9/11 Ballot Initiative because it was said that the Mayor could block it, making all our efforts null and void. Many people here and around the country were disheartened, saying there would be no way Mayor Bloomberg would allow the Initiative to get on the ballot. They argued we were doomed and it would be futile to try. However, there was a core group of stalwart and stubborn activists who were not deterred. We always knew this wouldn't be an easy task, but led by our vision for an authentic investigation we pushed ahead anyway. There were other challenges as well, yet we always knew that if effort was applied, anything could happen. We could actually succeed. Now, through communication with the City Clerk and upon reading the detail of the law we have learned that the Mayor cannot kill the Initiative. If he wanted to complicate things, he would have to go through the trouble of setting up a Charter Commission. This Commission would have to hold public hearings. Then if this Commission succeeds in placing it's Initiative on the ballot, our Initiative would be rescheduled to the following year's election. In summary, the Mayor would have to go through a complicated process which can be rebutted by the public and would bring much scrutiny on his actions. You can be sure that many 9/11 families will not be pleased. This action would attract an immense amount of negative baggage. If his Charter Commission succeeded in introducing their own Initiative, our Initiative would still be valid and be placed on the ballot one year later. As Senator Mike Gravel recently told me, sometimes things require a longer term approach but since they're worthwhile, you have to adopt a high-level perspective which will get you to the place that's desired. He should know. He has been working on the National Initiative for 20 years! At a meeting of our petitioning/management group on Wed. Sept. 3rd, Senator Gravel joined us by speaker phone. He said the following: "Solidify the numbers in 2009. It's vital to get enough signatures. This will get you credibility and visibility. Get people to anticipate and want it. There are people who share your view. I applaud everyone who worked to bring it about.This is truly the most significant effort going on. I can't encourage you enough to continue your efforts." I asked him to comment on his recent statement saying that the Initiative is the most effective way to hold Bush and Cheney to task. He answered, "More than they are involved. We are committed to pursue justice, knowledge, and truth, wherever that leads us." He offered to continue helping in every way he can. Then we were joined by Ed Asner on speakerphone. He was absolutely elated by the results that have been achieved here. He said, "I'm proud to be identified with you. Proud to support you. I celebrate all you have achieved. Then he went onto say,"You're not over the top yet because of fear that occupies every soul. If you have no fear at this time, you must be lobotimized! Yours is a sensational achievement. I'm really impressed." We thanked him for his willingness to be involved with the Initiative to which he replied, "You're the one's doing the work. I'm just spreading my name around. My love to you all." We invited him to NYC and promised to have a huge party which will hopefully hasten his arrival. Furthermore, 25-year veteran NY Times journalist Philip Shenon lectured at the NY Law Bar Association on Thurs. Sept. 4th on his best-seller titled "The Commission: The Uncensored History of the 9/11 Investigation". I gave him press materials on the Ballot Initiative. As it turns out, he had already heard of it and clearly appeared impressed. This could lead to any number of positive developments. After all, every page of his book is filled with evidence on why a new investigation is warranted. We know that the federal or even local government is unlikely to call for a true investigation of 9/11, however, through the NYC 9/11 Ballot Initiative, the voters of NY City can. This may be the only opportunity to obtain truth and justice for the victims of 9/11. People of conscience around the world are awaiting the outcome. Now more than ever, what's needed is public support. Anyone who knows voters in NY City can direct them to the site where they can download the petition and volunteer. Also, funding is needed for hiring professional petitioners, paying for literature, banners, educational DVDs, and advertising. We ask all to donate whatever they can, which can be done on the web site at www.nyc911initiative.org . Please urge others to help so that we can break through the wall of resistance to the truth of 9/11. Together, we can correct history, gain the truth of 9/11 and secure justice for the victims including first responders. This will go a long way towards restoring Constitutional freedoms and creating a political system which complies with law and works to fulfill the principles of democracy. We can then re-chart our collective future towards a vision consistent with the kind of society that our children deserve, can live and thrive in. Les Jamieson National Coordinator NYC 9/11 Ballot Initiative -------------------------------- The NYC 9/11 Ballot Initiative Campaign is a citizen-based effort to call attention to the fact that the U.S. government did not conduct a thorough investigation of 9/11. Through the creation of a public referendum, the most basic of democratic processes, the voters of NYC can now use their power of the petition to place a ballot initiative on the general election of 2009. This Initiative is designed to enable voters to create a new, independent, impartial Commission to conduct a thorough, fact-driven investigation of the most momentous event of our time. . Read more!

Bill of Rights or Orwellian State? You Decide

Police use pepper spray on a woman as she approaches them with a flower during a rally at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul.

This post is not intended to speak to Democrats, Republicans, conservatives or liberals. The intended audience is ALL AMERICANS who value the freedoms described in the First Amendment of our Bill of Rights. The article below, written by Chris Hedges, recaps the frightening actions of the St. Paul police department in response to peaceful protests at the Republican National Convention. Leave your party affiliations at the door and ask yourself if these actions demonstrate the characteristics of a free society. For those that don't, please get involved in protecting the original freedoms that help make this country great, as that is what a true 'Patriot' does.
Tyranny on Display at the Republican Convention By Chris Hedges St. Paul is a window into our future. It is a future where, as one protester told me by phone, “people have been pepper-gassed, thrown on the ground by police who had drawn their weapons, had their documents seized and their tattoos photographed before being taken away to jail.” It is a future where illegal house raids are carried out. It is a future where vans containing heavily armed paramilitary units circle and film protesters. It is a future where, as the protester said, “people have been pulled from cars because their license plates were on a database and handcuffed, thrown in the back of a squad car and then watched as their vehicles were ransacked and their personal possessions from computers to literature seized.” It is a future where constitutional rights mean nothing and where lawful dissent is branded a form of terrorism. The rise of the corporate state means the rise of the surveillance state. The Janus-like face of America swings from packaged and canned spectacles, from nationalist slogans, from seas of flags and Christian crosses, from professions of faith and patriotism, to widespread surveillance, illegal mass detentions, informants, provocateurs and crude acts of repression and violence. We barrel toward a world filled with stupendous lies and blood. What difference is there between the crowds of flag-waving Republicans and the apparatchiks I covered as a reporter in the old East German Communist Party? These Republican delegates, like the fat and compromised party functionaries in East Berlin, all fawned on cue over an inept and corrupt party hierarchy. They all purported to champion workers’ rights and freedom while they systematically fleeced, disempowered and impoverished the workers they lauded. They all celebrated the virtue of a state that was morally bankrupt. And while they played this con game, one that gave them special privileges, power and wealth, they unleashed their goons and thugs on all who dared to challenge them. We are not East Germany, but we are well on our way. An economic meltdown, another catastrophic terrorist attack on American soil, a war with Iran, and we could easily swing into an authoritarian model that would look very familiar to anyone who lived in the former communist East Bloc. A few of those arrested in St. Paul, including eight leaders of the RNC Welcoming Committee—one of the groups organizing protests at the GOP convention in St. Paul—now face terrorism-related charges. Monica Bicking, Eryn Trimmer, Luce Guillen Givins, Erik Oseland, Nathanael Secor, Robert Czernik, Garrett Fitzgerald and Max Spector could get up to seven and a half years in prison under the terrorism enhancement charge, which allows for a 50 percent increase in the maximum penalty. This is the first time criminal charges have been filed under the 2002 Minnesota version of the federal Patriot Act. The Patriot Act, which was put in place as much to silence domestic opposition as to ferret out real terrorists, has largely lain dormant. It has authorized the government to monitor our phone conversations, e-mails, meetings and political opinions. It has authorized the government to shut down anti-war groups and lock up innocents as terrorists. It has abolished habeas corpus. But until now we have not grasped its full implications for our open society. We catch glimpses, as in St. Paul or in our offshore penal colonies where we torture detainees, of its awful destructive power. The commercial media told us that what was important in St. Paul was happening inside the convention hall. The vapid interviews, the ridiculous soap opera sagas about Sarah Palin’s daughter and the debate about whether John McCain or Barack Obama has proprietary rights to “Change” divert us from the truth of who we have become. You had to search out “Democracy Now!,” TheUptake.org, Twin Cities Indymedia, I-Witness, along with a few other independent outlets, to see, hear or read real journalism from St. Paul. It does not matter that the RNC Welcoming Committee describes itself as an “anarchist/anti-authoritarian” organization. We don’t have to embrace a political agenda to protect the right to be heard. Shut down free speech and radicals only burrow deeper underground, splitting ossified political systems into fractured extremes. We may well end up with the Christian right on one side, with politicians like Sarah Palin providing an ideological veneer to a Christian fascism, and embittered leftist radicals who turn to violence on the other. St. Paul was not ultimately about selecting a presidential candidate. It was about the power of the corporate state to carry out pre-emptive searches, seizures and arrests. It was about squads of police in high-tech riot gear, many with drawn semiautomatic weapons, bursting into houses. It was about seized computers, journals and political literature. It was about shutting down independent journalism, even at gunpoint. It was about charging protesters with “conspiracy to commit riot,” a rarely used statute that criminalizes legal dissent. It was about 500 people held in open-air detention centers. It was about the rising Orwellian state that has hollowed out the insides of America, cast away all that was good and vital, and donned its skin to shackle us all. Read more!

"The Grown Folks Table" Coming Soon!

A fresh voice in Hip-Hop! Take a good listen to this fresh voice in Hip Hop and soul. He goes by the name of SPEECH. After traveling to Jerusalem, the turbulent Middle East, down-under Australia, Northern Africa and Europe, Speech embarked on his most incredible musical journey to date. The Grown Folks Table. A record of world-wide influence and collaborations. Special Guest include: John Butler (of the John Butler Trio), Chali 2na (of Jurassic 5), Marie Daulne (of Zap Mama), Steph Pockets, Marvin Priest, Jahi, Braille, Theory Hazit, Jahah, 1 Love, Tasha Larae, Za’ and JJ Boogie (of Arrested Development). Beat Producers include: S-1 (Strange Fruit Project), Speech, Sebmaestria (France), Lounge Lizards (Denmark), Theory Hazit, and BeatKamp (New Zealand). Speech has always had a fresh take on hip hop since his debut in 1992 with the revolutionary group Arrested Development, of which he lead and founded. Yet Speech has grown from a sometimes naïve, hippie rapper to a songwriter and passionate philosopher/activist. And this album shows his best hip-hop lyrical skills to date. At first listen you notice the obvious hard-hitting drums, a new addition to his usual melody driven tunes. You will also notice Speech’s unapologetic return to Hip hop. With all of his musical detours, it’s easy to forget that the world first heard of Speech in a hip-hop group. Speech says: "Grown Folks Table is my coming of age record, everybody grows up, this album deals with those transitions. I’m speaking to a new generation where immaturity is glorified, & no one is expected to mature. Too many rappers who in reality are hittin’ on 40years & have kids, complex lives and wives, yet rarely talk about them in their songs. Instead they portray themselves with dancing women at the beach, shopping at the malls, going to strip clubs, and playing video games."
Speech the writer of 1991’s hit, “Fishing For Religion” it’s obvious with this “Spiritual” laced release, Speech has found religious faith. Each song is sprinkled with these convictions and yet with honesty he wrestles with what religion commands and how he sometimes falls short of it. This album is filled with the thrills of human drama. It surpasses the cliché’ revolutionary banter of some and embraces a commonality that the whole world will relate to.
From revolutionary, to father, from husband to minister, The Grown Folks Table speaks to the thickness of life, like not many other records dare to in these days.
"The Grown Folks Table" is pure hotness, full of hard hittin beats & uplifting content. Available late - 2008 on CD, Vinyl and specialty cassettes - from Vagabond Records & Tapes Keep in tune with the blog as Speech will Debut some of this great material in the coming months!
Read more!

Beware of this BOOK!

If you have children or grandchildren, work with children at church, or if you have neighborhood children whose parents you know, please take note of the information below and pass it a long to others. Schools are distributing this book to children through the Scholastic Book Club. Beware of this book! The name of the book is Conversations with God... It is devastating. Parents, churches and Christian schools need to be aware of it. Please pass this information on to church/e-mail addressees, Parents, Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, friends. Please pay special attention not only to what your kids watch on TV, in movie theaters, on the internet, and the music they listen to, but also be alert regarding the books they read. Two particular books are, Conversations with God and Conversations with God for Teens, written by Neale D. Walsch. They sound harmless enough by their titles alone. The books have been on the New York Times best sellers list for a number of weeks, and they make truth of the statement, 'Don't judge a book by its cover (or title) The author purports to answer various questions asked by kids using the 'voice of God'. However, the 'answers' that he gives are not Bible-based and go against the very infallible word of God. For instance (and I paraphrase), when a girl asks the question 'Why am I a lesbian?' His answer is that she was 'born that way' because of genetics (just as you were born right-handed, with brown eyes, etc.). Then he tells her to go out and 'celebrate' her differences. Another girls poses the question 'I am living with my boyfriend. My parents say that I should marry him because I am living in sin. Should I marry him?' His reply is, 'Who are you sinning against? Not me, because you have done nothing wrong.' Another question asks about God's forgiveness of sin. His reply 'I do not forgive anyone because there is nothing to forgive. There is no such thing as right or wrong and that is what I have been trying to tell everyone, do not judge people. People have chosen to judge one another and this is wrong, because the rule is ''judge not lest ye be judged.' Not only are these books the false doctrine of the devil, but in some instances quote (in error) the Word of God. And the list goes on. These books (and others like it) are being sold to schoolchildren through (The Scholastic Book Club), and we need to be aware of what is being fed to our children. Our children are under attack. So I pray that you be sober and vigilant about teaching your children the Word of God, and guarding their exposure to worldly mediums, because our adversary, the devil, roams about as a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8). We know that lions usually hunt for the slowest, weakest and YOUNGEST of its prey. Pass this on to every Believer you know. God bless! And, if you are in doubt, check out the books yourself. Original post By: A friend of a friend of my moms. However, cuz the post interested me, I decided to do a little research of my own and I pulled a couple quotes to see where this false "prophet" got his inspiration. Here's a quote from his own website. "Neale's mother hardly ever went to church, and when he asked her why, she told Neale, "I don't have to go to church-God comes to me. He's with me and around me wherever I am." This view of God in his childhood would open Neale fully as an adult to transcend the traditional views of organized religion and bring to the world the message found in Conversations with God." In another section of his bio, it explained his supposed divine conversation with God..."Neale says that he heard a voice, soft and kind, warm and loving, that gave him an answer to this and other questions. Awestruck and inspired, he quickly scribbled these responses onto the tablet. More questions came, and, as fast as they occurred to him, answers were given in the same soft voice, which now seemed placed inside his head. Before he knew it, Neale found himself engaged in a two-way on-paper dialogue. He continued this first "conversation" for hours, and had many more in the weeks that followed, always awakening in the middle of the night and being drawn back to his legal pad. Neale's handwritten notes would later become the best-selling Conversations with God books." Of course the bible makes it clear that God now speaks through HIS word and that by THAT word we will be judged. (John 12:48) Anywhoo, just another day jotting down thangs and living life! Peace yawl, SPEECH Read more!

McCain's Only Hope

McCain's campaign manager even admitted that all McCain has to rely on is attacks, saying that for them, "This election is not about issues."
The McCain campaign is trying to distract voters from the real issues -- so let's focus on what they're trying to hide.
They've come out against the life-saving possibilities of stem cell research.
They don't even mention protecting equal pay for equal work.
They support huge tax cuts for the wealthiest 2% of Americans.
They've almost completely ignored the $10 billion we're spending every month in Iraq.
And they make zero exceptions for a woman's right to choose -- even in cases of rape, incest, or to protect the life of the mother.
If that all sounds like more of the same, that's because it is. John McCain is offering a third term of the disastrous Bush agenda, so it's no wonder his campaign would choose to focus on attacks instead of issues.
Read more!

Eight is Enough! Let's All Work to Keep the American Promise Alive

On the eve of the most important election in our generation, let's hammer the last nail into the coffin holding the politics of fear, injustice, inequality & Republican divisiveness! Every one needs to get involved in electing Barack Obama for president of these United States! Tell your friends to vote for change, not more of the same! Share with them the reasons Barack is that agent for change! Share with them the importance of this election, this is ultimately about you & me, more than Barack! We need grass roots involvement and everyday people's investment!! YES WE CAN! In case you were one of the unfortunate that didn't have the chance to watch this historic moment, I have provided the text of Barack's acceptance speech below. It's powerful - please read & share it. Peace & Strength, speech

"To Chairman Dean and my great friend Dick Durbin, and to all my fellow citizens of this great nation: With profound gratitude and great humility, I accept your nomination for the presidency of the United States. Let me express my thanks to the historic slate of candidates who accompanied me on this journey, and especially the one who traveled the farthest_ a champion for working Americans and an inspiration to my daughters and to yours — Hillary Rodham Clinton. To President Clinton, who last night made the case for change as only he can make it; to Ted Kennedy, who embodies the spirit of service; and to the next vice president of the United States, Joe Biden, I thank you. I am grateful to finish this journey with one of the finest statesmen of our time, a man at ease with everyone from world leaders to the conductors on the Amtrak train he still takes home every night. To the love of my life, our next first lady, Michelle Obama, and to Sasha and Malia, I love you so much, and I'm so proud of all of you. Four years ago, I stood before you and told you my story of the brief union between a young man from Kenya and a young woman from Kansas who weren't well-off or well-known, but shared a belief that in America, their son could achieve whatever he put his mind to. It is that promise that has always set this country apart, that through hard work and sacrifice, each of us can pursue our individual dreams but still come together as one American family, to ensure that the next generation can pursue their dreams as well. That's why I stand here tonight. Because for 232 years, at each moment when that promise was in jeopardy, ordinary men and women, students and soldiers, farmers and teachers, nurses and janitors, found the courage to keep it alive. We meet at one of those defining moments, a moment when our nation is at war, our economy is in turmoil, and the American promise has been threatened once more. Tonight, more Americans are out of work, and more are working harder for less. More of you have lost your homes, and even more are watching your home values plummet. More of you have cars you can't afford to drive, credit card bills you can't afford to pay, and tuition that's beyond your reach. These challenges are not all of government's making. But the failure to respond is a direct result of a broken politics in Washington and the failed policies of George W. Bush. America, we are better than these last eight years. We are a better country than this. This country is more decent than one where a woman in Ohio, on the brink of retirement, finds herself one illness away from disaster after a lifetime of hard work. This country is more generous than one where a man in Indiana has to pack up the equipment he's worked on for twenty years and watch it shipped off to China, and then chokes up as he explains how he felt like a failure when he went home to tell his family the news. We are more compassionate than a government that lets veterans sleep on our streets and families slide into poverty; that sits on its hands while a major American city drowns before our eyes. Tonight, I say to the American people, to Democrats and Republicans and Independents across this great land: enough! This moment, this election is our chance to keep, in the 21st century, the American promise alive. Because next week, in Minnesota, the same party that brought you two terms of George Bush and Dick Cheney will ask this country for a third. And we are here because we love this country too much to let the next four years look like the last eight. On Nov. 4, we must stand up and say: "Eight is enough." Now let there be no doubt. The Republican nominee, John McCain, has worn the uniform of our country with bravery and distinction, and for that, we owe him our gratitude and respect. And next week, we'll also hear about those occasions when he's broken with his party as evidence that he can deliver the change that we need. But the record's clear: John McCain has voted with George Bush 90 percent of the time. Senator McCain likes to talk about judgment, but really, what does it say about your judgment when you think George Bush has been right more than ninety percent of the time? I don't know about you, but I'm not ready to take a ten percent chance on change. The truth is, on issue after issue that would make a difference in your lives, on health care and education and the economy, Senator McCain has been anything but independent. He said that our economy has made "great progress" under this president. He said that the fundamentals of the economy are strong. And when one of his chief advisers, the man who wrote his economic plan, was talking about the anxiety Americans are feeling, he said that we were just suffering from a "mental recession," and that we've become, and I quote, "a nation of whiners." A nation of whiners? Tell that to the proud auto workers at a Michigan plant who, after they found out it was closing, kept showing up every day and working as hard as ever, because they knew there were people who counted on the brakes that they made. Tell that to the military families who shoulder their burdens silently as they watch their loved ones leave for their third or fourth or fifth tour of duty. These are not whiners. They work hard and give back and keep going without complaint. These are the Americans that I know. Now, I don't believe that Senator McCain doesn't care what's going on in the lives of Americans. I just think he doesn't know. Why else would he define middle-class as someone making under $5 million a year? How else could he propose hundreds of billions in tax breaks for big corporations and oil companies but not one penny of tax relief to more than 100 million Americans? How else could he offer a health care plan that would actually tax people's benefits, or an education plan that would do nothing to help families pay for college, or a plan that would privatize Social Security and gamble your retirement? It's not because John McCain doesn't care. It's because John McCain doesn't get it. For over two decades, he's subscribed to that old, discredited Republican philosophy — give more and more to those with the most and hope that prosperity trickles down to everyone else. In Washington, they call this the Ownership Society, but what it really means is, you're on your own. Out of work? Tough luck. No health care? The market will fix it. Born into poverty? Pull yourself up by your own bootstraps, even if you don't have boots. You're on your own. Well, it's time for them to own their failure. It's time for us to change America. You see, we Democrats have a very different measure of what constitutes progress in this country. We measure progress by how many people can find a job that pays the mortgage; whether you can put a little extra money away at the end of each month so you can someday watch your child receive her college diploma. We measure progress in the 23 million new jobs that were created when Bill Clinton was president, when the average American family saw its income go up $7,500 instead of down $2,000, like it has under George Bush. We measure the strength of our economy not by the number of billionaires we have or the profits of the Fortune 500, but by whether someone with a good idea can take a risk and start a new business, or whether the waitress who lives on tips can take a day off to look after a sick kid without losing her job an economy that honors the dignity of work. The fundamentals we use to measure economic strength are whether we are living up to that fundamental promise that has made this country great, a promise that is the only reason I am standing here tonight. Because in the faces of those young veterans who come back from Iraq and Afghanistan, I see my grandfather, who signed up after Pearl Harbor, marched in Patton's Army and was rewarded by a grateful nation with the chance to go to college on the GI Bill. In the face of that young student who sleeps just three hours before working the night shift, I think about my mom, who raised my sister and me on her own while she worked and earned her degree; who once turned to food stamps but was still able to send us to the best schools in the country with the help of student loans and scholarships. When I listen to another worker tell me that his factory has shut down, I remember all those men and women on the South Side of Chicago who I stood by and fought for two decades ago after the local steel plant closed. And when I hear a woman talk about the difficulties of starting her own business, I think about my grandmother, who worked her way up from the secretarial pool to middle-management, despite years of being passed over for promotions because she was a woman. She's the one who taught me about hard work. She's the one who put off buying a new car or a new dress for herself so that I could have a better life. She poured everything she had into me. And although she can no longer travel, I know that she's watching tonight, and that tonight is her night as well. I don't know what kind of lives John McCain thinks that celebrities lead, but this has been mine. These are my heroes. Theirs are the stories that shaped me. And it is on their behalf that I intend to win this election and keep our promise alive as president of the United States. What is that promise? It's a promise that says each of us has the freedom to make of our own lives what we will, but that we also have the obligation to treat each other with dignity and respect. It's a promise that says the market should reward drive and innovation and generate growth, but that businesses should live up to their responsibilities to create American jobs, look out for American workers, and play by the rules of the road. Ours is a promise that says government cannot solve all our problems, but what it should do is that which we cannot do for ourselves, protect us from harm and provide every child a decent education; keep our water clean and our toys safe; invest in new schools and new roads and new science and technology. Our government should work for us, not against us. It should help us, not hurt us. It should ensure opportunity, not just for those with the most money and influence, but for every American who's willing to work. That's the promise of America, the idea that we are responsible for ourselves, but that we also rise or fall as one nation; the fundamental belief that I am my brother's keeper; I am my sister's keeper. That's the promise we need to keep. That's the change we need right now. So let me spell out exactly what that change would mean if I am president. Change means a tax code that doesn't reward the lobbyists who wrote it, but the American workers and small businesses who deserve it. Unlike John McCain, I will stop giving tax breaks to corporations that ship jobs overseas, and I will start giving them to companies that create good jobs right here in America. I will eliminate capital gains taxes for the small businesses and the startups that will create the high-wage, high-tech jobs of tomorrow. I will cut taxes — cut taxes for 95% of all working families. Because in an economy like this, the last thing we should do is raise taxes on the middle-class. And for the sake of our economy, our security, and the future of our planet, I will set a clear goal as president: In ten years, we will finally end our dependence on oil from the Middle East. Washington's been talking about our oil addiction for the last thirty years, and John McCain has been there for twenty-six of them. In that time, he's said no to higher fuel-efficiency standards for cars, no to investments in renewable energy, no to renewable fuels. And today, we import triple the amount of oil as the day that Senator McCain took office. Now is the time to end this addiction, and to understand that drilling is a stopgap measure, not a long-term solution. Not even close. As president, I will tap our natural gas reserves, invest in clean coal technology, and find ways to safely harness nuclear power. I'll help our auto companies retool, so that the fuel-efficient cars of the future are built right here in America. I'll make it easier for the American people to afford these new cars. And I'll invest 150 billion dollars over the next decade in affordable, renewable sources of energy; wind power and solar power and the next generation of biofuels; an investment that will lead to new industries and 5 million new jobs that pay well and can't ever be outsourced. America, now is not the time for small plans. Now is the time to finally meet our moral obligation to provide every child a world-class education, because it will take nothing less to compete in the global economy. Michelle and I are only here tonight because we were given a chance at an education. And I will not settle for an America where some kids don't have that chance. I'll invest in early childhood education. I'll recruit an army of new teachers, and pay them higher salaries and give them more support. And in exchange, I'll ask for higher standards and more accountability. And we will keep our promise to every young American — if you commit to serving your community or your country, we will make sure you can afford a college education. Now is the time to finally keep the promise of affordable, accessible health care for every single American. If you have health care, my plan will lower your premiums. If you don't, you'll be able to get the same kind of coverage that members of Congress give themselves. And as someone who watched my mother argue with insurance companies while she lay in bed dying of cancer, I will make certain those companies stop discriminating against those who are sick and need care the most. Now is the time to help families with paid sick days and better family leave, because nobody in America should have to choose between keeping their jobs and caring for a sick child or ailing parent. Now is the time to change our bankruptcy laws, so that your pensions are protected ahead of CEO bonuses; and the time to protect Social Security for future generations. And now is the time to keep the promise of equal pay for an equal day's work, because I want my daughters to have exactly the same opportunities as your sons. Now, many of these plans will cost money, which is why I've laid out how I'll pay for every dime, by closing corporate loopholes and tax havens that don't help America grow. But I will also go through the federal budget, line by line, eliminating programs that no longer work and making the ones we do need work better and cost less because we cannot meet 21st century challenges with a 20th century bureaucracy. And Democrats, we must also admit that fulfilling America's promise will require more than just money. It will require a renewed sense of responsibility from each of us to recover what John F. Kennedy called our "intellectual and moral strength." Yes, government must lead on energy independence, but each of us must do our part to make our homes and businesses more efficient. Yes, we must provide more ladders to success for young men who fall into lives of crime and despair. But we must also admit that programs alone can't replace parents; that government can't turn off the television and make a child do her homework; that fathers must take more responsibility for providing the love and guidance their children need. Individual responsibility and mutual responsibility — that's the essence of America's promise. And just as we keep our keep our promise to the next generation here at home, so must we keep America's promise abroad. If John McCain wants to have a debate about who has the temperament, and judgment, to serve as the next commander in chief, that's a debate I'm ready to have. For while Senator McCain was turning his sights to Iraq just days after 9/11, I stood up and opposed this war, knowing that it would distract us from the real threats we face. When John McCain said we could just "muddle through" in Afghanistan, I argued for more resources and more troops to finish the fight against the terrorists who actually attacked us on 9/11, and made clear that we must take out Osama bin Laden and his lieutenants if we have them in our sights. John McCain likes to say that he'll follow bin Laden to the Gates of Hell, but he won't even go to the cave where he lives. And today, as my call for a time frame to remove our troops from Iraq has been echoed by the Iraqi government and even the Bush administration, even after we learned that Iraq has a $79 billion surplus while we're wallowing in deficits, John McCain stands alone in his stubborn refusal to end a misguided war. That's not the judgment we need. That won't keep America safe. We need a president who can face the threats of the future, not keep grasping at the ideas of the past. You don't defeat a terrorist network that operates in 80 countries by occupying Iraq. You don't protect Israel and deter Iran just by talking tough in Washington. You can't truly stand up for Georgia when you've strained our oldest alliances. If John McCain wants to follow George Bush with more tough talk and bad strategy, that is his choice, but it is not the change we need. We are the party of Roosevelt. We are the party of Kennedy. So don't tell me that Democrats won't defend this country. Don't tell me that Democrats won't keep us safe. The Bush-McCain foreign policy has squandered the legacy that generations of Americans — Democrats and Republicans have built, and we are here to restore that legacy. As commander in chief, I will never hesitate to defend this nation, but I will only send our troops into harm's way with a clear mission and a sacred commitment to give them the equipment they need in battle and the care and benefits they deserve when they come home. I will end this war in Iraq responsibly and finish the fight against al-Qaida and the Taliban in Afghanistan. I will rebuild our military to meet future conflicts. But I will also renew the tough, direct diplomacy that can prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons and curb Russian aggression. I will build new partnerships to defeat the threats of the 21st century: terrorism and nuclear proliferation; poverty and genocide; climate change and disease. And I will restore our moral standing, so that America is once again that last, best hope for all who are called to the cause of freedom, who long for lives of peace, and who yearn for a better future. These are the policies I will pursue. And in the weeks ahead, I look forward to debating them with John McCain. But what I will not do is suggest that the senator takes his positions for political purposes. Because one of the things that we have to change in our politics is the idea that people cannot disagree without challenging each other's character and patriotism. The times are too serious, the stakes are too high for this same partisan playbook. So let us agree that patriotism has no party. I love this country, and so do you, and so does John McCain. The men and women who serve in our battlefields may be Democrats and Republicans and Independents, but they have fought together and bled together and some died together under the same proud flag. They have not served a Red America or a Blue America, they have served the United States of America. So I've got news for you, John McCain. We all put our country first. America, our work will not be easy. The challenges we face require tough choices, and Democrats as well as Republicans will need to cast off the worn-out ideas and politics of the past. For part of what has been lost these past eight years can't just be measured by lost wages or bigger trade deficits. What has also been lost is our sense of common purpose our sense of higher purpose. And that's what we have to restore. We may not agree on abortion, but surely we can agree on reducing the number of unwanted pregnancies in this country. The reality of gun ownership may be different for hunters in rural Ohio than for those plagued by gang-violence in Cleveland, but don't tell me we can't uphold the Second Amendment while keeping AK-47s out of the hands of criminals. I know there are differences on same-sex marriage, but surely we can agree that our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters deserve to visit the person they love in the hospital and to live lives free of discrimination. Passions fly on immigration, but I don't know anyone who benefits when a mother is separated from her infant child or an employer undercuts American wages by hiring illegal workers. This, too, is part of America's promise, the promise of a democracy where we can find the strength and grace to bridge divides and unite in common effort. I know there are those who dismiss such beliefs as happy talk. They claim that our insistence on something larger, something firmer and more honest in our public life is just a Trojan horse for higher taxes and the abandonment of traditional values. And that's to be expected. Because if you don't have any fresh ideas, then you use stale tactics to scare the voters. If you don't have a record to run on, then you paint your opponent as someone people should run from. You make a big election about small things. And you know what it's worked before. Because it feeds into the cynicism we all have about government. When Washington doesn't work, all its promises seem empty. If your hopes have been dashed again and again, then it's best to stop hoping, and settle for what you already know. I get it. I realize that I am not the likeliest candidate for this office. I don't fit the typical pedigree, and I haven't spent my career in the halls of Washington. But I stand before you tonight because all across America something is stirring. What the naysayers don't understand is that this election has never been about me. It's been about you. For eighteen long months, you have stood up, one by one, and said enough to the politics of the past. You understand that in this election, the greatest risk we can take is to try the same old politics with the same old players and expect a different result. You have shown what history teaches us that at defining moments like this one, the change we need doesn't come from Washington. Change comes to Washington. Change happens because the American people demand it, because they rise up and insist on new ideas and new leadership, a new politics for a new time. America, this is one of those moments. I believe that as hard as it will be, the change we need is coming. Because I've seen it. Because I've lived it. I've seen it in Illinois, when we provided health care to more children and moved more families from welfare to work. I've seen it in Washington, when we worked across party lines to open up government and hold lobbyists more accountable, to give better care for our veterans and keep nuclear weapons out of terrorist hands. And I've seen it in this campaign. In the young people who voted for the first time, and in those who got involved again after a very long time. In the Republicans who never thought they'd pick up a Democratic ballot, but did. I've seen it in the workers who would rather cut their hours back a day than see their friends lose their jobs, in the soldiers who re-enlist after losing a limb, in the good neighbors who take a stranger in when a hurricane strikes and the floodwaters rise. This country of ours has more wealth than any nation, but that's not what makes us rich. We have the most powerful military on Earth, but that's not what makes us strong. Our universities and our culture are the envy of the world, but that's not what keeps the world coming to our shores. Instead, it is that American spirit that American promise that pushes us forward even when the path is uncertain; that binds us together in spite of our differences; that makes us fix our eye not on what is seen, but what is unseen, that better place around the bend. That promise is our greatest inheritance. It's a promise I make to my daughters when I tuck them in at night, and a promise that you make to yours, a promise that has led immigrants to cross oceans and pioneers to travel west; a promise that led workers to picket lines, and women to reach for the ballot. And it is that promise that forty five years ago today, brought Americans from every corner of this land to stand together on a Mall in Washington, before Lincoln's Memorial, and hear a young preacher from Georgia speak of his dream. The men and women who gathered there could've heard many things. They could've heard words of anger and discord. They could've been told to succumb to the fear and frustration of so many dreams deferred. But what the people heard instead, people of every creed and color, from every walk of life, is that in America, our destiny is inextricably linked. That together, our dreams can be one. "We cannot walk alone," the preacher cried. "And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back." America, we cannot turn back. Not with so much work to be done. Not with so many children to educate, and so many veterans to care for. Not with an economy to fix and cities to rebuild and farms to save. Not with so many families to protect and so many lives to mend. America, we cannot turn back. We cannot walk alone. At this moment, in this election, we must pledge once more to march into the future. Let us keep that promise, that American promise, and in the words of Scripture, hold firmly, without wavering, to the hope that we confess. Thank you, God bless you, and God bless the United States of America."
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